Commentary

Zephaniah 3:14-20
The author of Zephaniah commands Israel to sing the L ORD’s praises. This hymn is sung because the Lord has conquered the enemies of the state. Here God is portrayed as a mighty warrior who is powerful in battle and perfect back home. Zephaniah 3:14 Sing aloud, O daughter Zion – The command to praise the L ORD is given to the children of God. This includes the women, the orphans, the widows, and all those people who do not have a voice in society. Rejoice and exult with all your heart – Invest your intellect into the worship of the L ORD. Zephaniah 3:15 The L ORD has taken away the judgements against you – Without asking for it, the L ORD has forgiven you. he has turned away your enemies – Freedom and salvation come in this day and age. The king of Israel, the L ORD, is in your midst – Although you may not know it, the L ORD lives with you. Zephaniah 3:16 Do not fear, O Zion – Despite being surrounded by enemies, remember that the L ORD is with you. Zephaniah 3:17 a warrior who gives victory – The outcome of the battle is sure. The L ORD will win. he will rejoice over you with gladness – The L ORD loves you. Zephaniah 3:18 I will remove disaster from you – Salvation for the L ORD’s children is much more than simply forgiveness of sin. Zephaniah 3:19 I will change their shame into praise – Even all the dishonor given to you by the world will be transformed into desirable attributes by the L ORD. Zephaniah 3:20 At that time I will bring you home – The L ORD your God will take you that place that loves you unconditionally.

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Isaiah 12:2-6
The prophet states that he trusts the Lord because God brings help. Isaiah 12:2 Surely God is my salvation – Every other person might help you in some little way but the L ORD God can solve all of your problems. Isaiah 12:3 With joy you will draw water – The L ORD brings life to you in the most basic way possible. He gives you something to drink. Isaiah 12:4 And you will say on that day – When the L ORD God gives you this gift, simply say thank you. Then take His name to the streets. Isaiah 12:5 Sing praises to the L ORD – The work of the L ORD is so wonderful, it causes you to break out in song. Isaiah 12:6

Philippians 4:4-7
Paul commands the congregation to show delight in the Lord. They are to be kind and tender. Paul tells them not to worry since believers pray to God. This section ends with a quote found in many sermons. Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. – No matter what happens to you, give thanks to the Lord. Philippians 4:5 Let your gentleness be known to everyone – It should not be a secret to your family and friends that you are a follower of Christ. Philippians 4:6 by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God – God listens to your requests. Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God – Followers of the Lord are confident about their future.

Luke 3:7-18
John’s prophetic work is that of making the people ready for their Lord. In response to the day of the Lord, the followers of the Lord show God’s glory by taking care of everyone. 2

Luke 3:7 brood of vipers – A better translation of γεννή ατα χιδν ν would be “children of snakes” but Acts 28:3 pictures the χιδνα as a viper.1 Who warned you to flee from the wrath – Who brought the message to leave? Does it matter at all who sent the people? God transforms their fear and these people are baptized. Luke 3:8 Bear fruits – Everyone’s behavior produces something.2 The question is do these products praise the Lord and His work? We have Abraham as our ancestor – αυτο ς πατέρα χο εν τ ν Αβραά A better rendering would be “our father is Abraham.” We might say that our family has always been a Christian or they were founding members of the church. from these stones to raise up children – Johnson argues that this is just barely hyperbole.3 If God can make stones into Christians, then He can make the Gentiles into followers also.4 If the text was in either Hebrew or Aramaic, there is a verbal pun from eben (stone) into ben (son).5 Luke 3:9 Even now the axe is lying at the root of the trees – The gardener’s patience is tried by the plants that do not produce. Sooner or later He will grow tired of waiting for the fruit and the tree will be destroyed. Luke 3:10 “What then should we do?” – This phrase introduces the audience to the radical sharing presented by the author of Luke/Acts. The plural in this sentence indicates that others are in the same process. Luke 3:11 Whoever has two – In the time when the text was written until only a few generations ago, it was assumed that there was a fixed amount of ways to make money. If you have a cow, then that meant someone could not have one because the world only has a fixed amount of resources. However, today money can be made without the use of “any” physical resources.
Luke Timothy Johnson; Daniel J. Harrington, S.J., editor, The Gospel of Luke, Volume 3, Sacra Pagina, (The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1991), p. 64. 2 Ibid., p. 65. 3 Ibid. 4 Ibid., p. 68. 5 Brian P. Stoffregen, Luke 3.7-18 3rd Sunday in Advent - Year C, http://www. crossmarks.com/brian/luke3x7.htm.
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The meaning of the text is not simply limited to economic theory about goods and production. Instead, there is a deep understanding the God is glorified when people on earth bring a foretaste of what is to come. coats – The χιτών is worn next to the skin. The NRSV translation is wrong. Give them your underwear. do likewise – The verb ποιέω in the phrase οίως ποιείτω is a present active imperative that means the action must continue in the future. Luke 3:12 tax collectors – A τελώνης is a tax agent who collects taxes through the use of tolls.6 Luke 3:13 Collect no more – Do not extort money from the people.7 Luke 3:14 Do not extort – “Don’t shake down anyone” or threaten to turn anyone in to the officers.8 Luke 3:15 whether he might be the Messiah – The author of Luke/Acts wants everyone to know that John is not the messiah. It is apparent from the verse that follows that a large distance is between John and Jesus. John does not “command” the Holy Spirit or fire. John is not even worthy to do menial labor for Jesus. Also John does not separate the bad from the good. Luke 3:16 Holy Spirit and fire – This is a prediction of what happens at Pentecost.9 It is not a call for destruction. Luke 3:17 His winnowing fork – Is this Law or Gospel? Is Jesus tossing out the bad people into the fire or instead is He separating the hard parts that are found in each of us? Luke 3:18 proclaimed the good news to the people. – What then does the author see as Good News? Is it the economic behavior? If so, this would be the “third” use of the Law. Is it the destruction of the evil in the world? It would be hard to support this point since the author of Luke/Acts does not attack the atrocities practiced by the Roman government.
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Johnson, Luke, p. 65. Ibid. 8 Ibid. 9 Ibid., p. 66.

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References
Johnson, Luke Timothy; Harrington, S.J., Daniel J., editor, The Gospel of Luke, Volume 3, Sacra Pagina, (The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1991). Stoffregen, Brian P., Luke 3.7-18 3rd Sunday in Advent - Year C, http://www. crossmarks.com/brian/luke3x7.htm.

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